The North Carolina Division of Air Quality has proposed a "pre-draft" rule to limit idling time of trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating to no more than 5 minutes at a time in any 60-minute period.

The agency is looking at the measure as part of a strategy to meet new ozone standards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2009 emission estimates show on-road mobile sources contribute approximately 50 percent of the state's NOX. In addition, particulates are a matter of public health.

There would be exemptions for idling in traffic, for refrigeration of cargo, for maintenance or diagnostic purposes, and for power take-off functions such as mixing or dumping. A sleeper berth exemption for air conditioning or heating during federally mandated rest periods would expire on May 1, 2010. APUs would be exempt, along with trucks with diesel engines meeting the low-NOx idling standards set forth by California.

The agency's goal is to have a regulation that all stakeholders can agree on ready by September. They are taking comments until June 20. There will be another opportunity to comment during the official public comment period in December and January.

You can learn more at Questions or comments on the proposal can be sent to Michael Abraczinskas at